introThis is “The Vision, The Sword and The Pyre (Part II)” of Eloy’s concept project about the life and dead of Jeanne d’Arc, the virgin of Orleans. The girl played a role in the age of the Hundred Years’ War between France and England. Betrayed and only 19 years old she ended up at the pyre. An ambitious project that took more than two years two develop. And then we are only talking about Part One that was released in 2017. An Eloy album with the quality we are used to according the high Eloy standards in sound and production. Maybe this is also the reason that it took a while before Part Two was finished. The driving force behind this project is of course leader Frank Bornemann. Where Part One was packed in artwork with a blue background, for “Part Two the color red is chosen. The color of the flames of the burning pyre.
Artur Kühfuss - keyboards (1,3)
Laila Nysten - vocals (1)
The Youth Choir of the Market Church, Hannover (1,5)
Like on Part One you can find thirteen compositions on this Part Two. The album opens with “An Instant Of Relief .. Still The War Rages On”. It starts with mysterious keyboard layers and the angelic voice of guest singer Laila Nysten who is later joined with the Youth Choir of the Market Church, Hannover. Quickly after this atmospheric opening the typical Eloy sound is build up with pounding bass and drums, guitars and a wall of keyboards. With the voice of Frank Bornemann the building up of the typical Eloy sound is complete. There is a lot to be told so you can find shorter tracks like “Between Hope, Doubts, Fear and Uncertainty” which are tasteful storytelling tracks. In the track “Patay” you can find those delicious synth solo’s. You can find a lot of keyboards on this album which is not surprising because with Hanes Folberth and Michael Gerlach the band has two great keyboard players on board. Fans will love this typical Eloy track. In “Joy” we find some wonderful keyboard orchestrations. If you listen carefully you will discover a lot of layers in the music of Eloy. It is a nice track with a positive and cheerful atmosphere. It gets more serious and religious in “Reims .. The Coronation of Charles VII”. A song with a narrative character and told by the female voice and the choir. Musically it has religious (the Church organ) and Middle Ages (Barock) atmospheres. The next song “Resume” is about Jean de Metz who recapitulates the events leading to the Charles VII coronation and speaks to Jeane. A short and atmospheric track with a narration of Jean de Metz. Then it is time again for some typical Eloy sounds in tracks like “Armistice Or War?” and “Paris”. Once more I noticed that the sound of this album is mainly formed by all the keyboards and accompanying guitar playing. Don’t expect long guitar solos on this album. With “Abandoned” and “Compiegne” Jeanne’s story becomes darker. In the later you can find some nice synth melodies. In “Tormenting Imprisonment Jeanne is already in chains and awaits her trial (Rouen) at a large tribunal of strenuous men in gowns with bad intentions. So in the track “Rouen” the church organ and the religious atmosphere is returning. The album ends with the beautiful song “Eternity”. The female narrator is speaking of angels who are welcoming Jeanne to Eternity. “They embrace you and they let you know that life’s worth is not measured by it’s length, but only by the deeds accomplished for as long as it lasted”. With these wise words the story of Jeanne comes to an end.